New Poll: American Seniors Support Action to Prevent Proposed Cuts to Medicare Home Health Benefit

- Nearly 9 out of 10 senior voters oppose additional cuts to home health benefit -

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bring the Vote Home, an initiative created to help senior citizens, disabled Americans, their family members, and their home healthcare clinicians participate in the nation's democratic process, today released new polling data on American seniors' opinions on the value of Medicare skilled home healthcare services and proposed cuts that threaten to reduce Medicare home health funding by an unprecedented 14 percent.  The poll, which surveyed 4,533 registered voters aged 65 and older, finds that American seniors overwhelmingly favor Medicare home health services and strongly oppose additional cuts to the benefit, which provides clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred home healthcare services to 3.5 million homebound senior citizens and disabled individuals.

In June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed regulation that would "rebase" home health Medicare payments by 3.5 percent annually from 2014 to 2017, resulting in an unprecedented total cut of 14 percent to Medicare home health funding. Unless the proposed rule is reconsidered, it is projected that nearly three quarters of all home healthcare providers will experience net operating losses by 2017 and 47 of 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia will experience negative Medicare home health margins by 2017.  These proposed cuts translate to a loss of an estimated $21.5 billion in Medicare home health funding.

"Senior voters clearly value receiving healthcare services at home and are counting on the Administration and Congress to protect their access to the skilled home health services they need," said Marcia Tetterton, Chair of the Council of State Home Care Associations. "The proposed cut threatens to undermine Medicare's home health benefit, without which millions of seniors will be forced to receive care outside their home, away from their families and in more expensive settings. This clearly isn't what our nation's seniors want."

The survey findings show:

  • 91% of American seniors favor the Medicare home health benefit, which provides care for 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries.
  • 89% of American seniors oppose more cuts to Medicare payments for home healthcare, which have already been cut by $72.5 billion since 2009.
  • 87% of American seniors prefer to receive medical treatment at home.
  • 85% of American seniors think President Obama and Congress should take action to prevent proposed cuts to the Medicare home health benefit.
  • 79% of seniors are more likely to support lawmakers who fight to preserve home health and take action to stop the proposed Medicare cuts.

"These polling results underscore concerns raised by leaders from seniors groups, patient advocates and the home health community.  As a result, we urge Administration and Congressional officials to take action to ensure that senior citizens and disabled Americans will continue to have access to patient-preferred home healthcare," added Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

Home healthcare is widely recognized as clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred. Patients are now able to receive complex care and therapies, once only available in a hospital or institutional setting, in the comfort of their own homes. According to AARP, more than 9-in-10 older adults want to age in place, so they can continue to live in their own homes or communities.

Public Policy Polling completed this survey August 19-21, 2013.  The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent.

Bring the Vote Home was launched to help senior citizens, disabled Americans, their family members, and their home healthcare clinicians participate in elections through voter registration and absentee ballot application initiatives. Home healthcare beneficiaries make up a rapidly growing portion of the population, but the homebound status of many of them makes it difficult for them to participate in the electoral process. Bring the Vote Home is dedicated to helping all members of the home healthcare community have the opportunity to participate fully in our nation's democratic process. Learn more at http://www.bringthevotehome.org.

SOURCE Bring the Vote Home



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